The Central Virginian

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June primary will select Democratic opponent in 7th Congressional District race

Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 4:30 am

The race is on to win the hearts and minds of voters now that the 7th Congressional District Democratic Committee has chosen to use a primary to pick its nominee to challenge Rep. Dave Brat.

After a lengthy discussion and several votes, the committee opted for a primary rather than a caucus at its quarterly meeting on Sunday in Richmond. The primary is scheduled for June 12.

A caucus was considered because it could give the party more control over the process, including barring people registered as Republican from voting. But committee members decided a primary is the best way to give the most voters a role in the outcome.

Gary Schatz, Louisa Democratic Committee chairman, said the congressional committee deadlocked 10-10 when it first took a vote on Sunday. After meeting in executive session, members voted unanimously to hold a primary to decide among the four candidates.

“I think the fear was that if we had a primary, there is no provision for a runoff,” he said. “Someone could get 26 percent of the vote and end up with the nomination, and that didn’t seem fair to some.”

Schatz said members worried the congressional committee wouldn’t have the time or capacity to properly organize a caucus, which would have taken place in March or April.

The state of Virginia will pay for the primary. Had the Democrats elected to organize a caucus, the party would have paid the cost.

(This is a partial article. Read full article in Feb. 1, 2018 issue of The Central Virginian)

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